Osaka Best Eats

Hajime, Okonomiyaki, Yakitori, Ramen, Sushi and Harbs cakes in Osaka (2 - 4 Feb 2013)

2013 kicked off with a wonderful trip to Osaka with Y’s Hong Kong friends – YW, AL and TW, just before Chinese New Year. I haven’t been to Osaka in ages since I think 2003 so it was nice to be back there for a short weekend trip before heading down to Niseko for Y and my first skiing trip (a pity they don’t have skis built for bears like me yet, sigh!)

View from Ritz Carlton, Osaka room
View from Ritz Carlton, Osaka room

Osaka went past really fast, since we were there for merely 2 and a half days. I will itemise what are the must tries in Osaka for a short weekend. Osaka has increasingly become quite a noteworthy gourmet haven, with an increasing number of Michelin star-rated restaurants, and it’s also great for a lot of its casual eats too.


1. Mizuno
1-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Tel: +81 (0) 6 6212 6360

Famous for their okonomiyaki, which I researched fervently before the Osaka trip, this was Y and my first stop for lunch in Osaka after we arrived from a tiring “red eye” flight. Thank goodness, I asked Ritz Carlton concierge to reserve a seat for me at the bar, as the queue was pretty long!

Cool chef cooking the various combinations
Cool chef cooking the various combinations

Our order of Okonomiyaki with scallops and pork
Our order of Okonomiyaki with scallops and pork

2. Hajime

1-9-11-1F, Edobori, NIshi-Ku, Osaka-City, Osaka, 550-0002 Japan

It’s such a pity that we weren’t allowed to take pictures, the 3 hour degustation lunch here was simply mind blowing. Chef Hajime Yoneda adopts French techniques with Japanese ingredients that creates a really unique taste, combination of flavours. It’s definitely one of the best meals I had in my life, and I would ask anyone who comes to Osaka to come here. Just make sure you bring a jacket as it’s bit more formal.

But what was nice that the restaurant manager placed “spare” jackets on the back of the men’s chairs just to make it look like they were wearing it after we realised none of them remembered the “jacket dress code”. I thought that was a nice touch. I spotted Chef Takazawa from Aronia de Takazawa from Tokyo with his whole restaurant team there, this does say something about this restaurant, when another really reputable chef from Tokyo is eating there. Hajime had the honour of receiving 3 stars in when it was listed in the first Kyoto & Osaka Michelin Guide in 2012, and it well deserves it. We practically rolled out of the restaurant, so full but so happy.

Shinsaibashi Kawaguchi

This was a really good yakitori place, the tsukune was just the best! God knows how many plates we went through, but my dear friends still continued stuffing their face after this, with gyozas, 2 rounds of ramen in one night, and oh yes dessert.

Yakitori collage

3. Yasubee
Chuo-ku, Osaka Shinsaibashi 2-4-4
Tel: +81-6-6212-4111

This is some serious kickass ramen which YW spotted after we had a really BAD BOWL of noodles at Kinryu Ramen (Otherwise known as “Golden Dragon” literal translation from the chinese characters 金龙- so you have been warmed do not go to that one).
We were walking along the famous Dotonbori stretch trying to find better ramen restaurants after a disappointing bowl at Kinryu. Yasubee serves the ramen in a dry style with soup on the side and the classic ramen. Both are so so good. After researching on them, I realised the Osaka branch was newly opened in August 2012, and they started in Tokyo, am just surprised why I never discovered it in my countless trips to Tokyo… hmmmm.. I am quite excited to try it again when I go to Tokyo in October with Auntie LY and Y.



4. Harijyu

Dotonbori, Chuoku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan

Tel: +81 6-6211-5357

This famous beef establishment has been standing at the corner of Midosuji for about 80 years. We didn’t eat here, but came specially to buy tons and tons of beef, for sukiyaki, shabu shabu, yakiniku and steak to cook in Niseko. Bookmark this next time if you want to bring home some beef to cook. See my next blog on Niseko – where you can see the beef in the hotpot. We didn’t bring a cooler bag, but they had it packed very well, so we just requested for Ritz Carlton concierge to store in their fridge for a night before we checked out the next day.


5. Endo Sushi

Noda, Fukushimaku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 553-0005, Japan

Located in the fish market of Osaka, we came here for breakfast before going to the airport to catch the flight to Sapporo. This is a great affordable place that I won’t mind eating everyday. It’s great value for money and the sashimi and sushi is so fresh.

I love how it’s so easy to order, with just 4 sets to choose from, convenient especially since the staff in the restaurant only speak Japanese. And it’s a nice touch that we can put as much of the special soya sauce that’s on the table for our sushi. This was a great “yummylicious” breakfast before boarding our flight to Sapporo.



Edo Sushi collage


Oh my Lord, the quality of desserts here are amazing of course, and I am so happy I discovered my all time favourite.

DAIMARU UMEDA take out shop
B1F, Daimaru Umedamise 3-1-1, Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka-city, Osaka

This is my all time favourite Japanese dessert, beating even Gramercy Park for their strawberry cream cakes. I discovered while walking with the blokes around Daimaru basement near Ritz Carlton. And I went on a dessert shopping spree, picking a slice of the ones that I fancied, so that we could potentially eat it after our Yakitori dinner later. I can’t wait to check out the Harbs when I am in Tokyo in October.. yummy!!! Me, Y and LY will eat our hearts out! They have a few locations in Osaka, so don’t fret, just check the website and you may find one near where you are in Osaka.

Beautiful strawberry cream cakes, tarts and more... sigh!! I LOVE THIS A LOT!
Beautiful strawberry cream cakes, tarts and more… sigh!! I LOVE THIS A LOT!

5 of us cleaned out the cakes after like 3 meals for dinner!
5 of us cleaned out the cakes after like 3 meals for dinner!


Basement of Daimaru Shinsaibashi

One of my favourites for strawberry cream cake, this is not to be missed if you are in Japan. Their other location I know of is Tokyo Takashimaya, but somehow never made it there, so am glad I managed to try it here. The cream is just so light, and the sponge cake is so soft and moist, heavenly!



Snapshots taken while walking in the basement of Daimaru – wonderful bliss!

Snapshots taken while walking in the basement of Daimaru – wonderful bliss!

Namba Parks – an oasis of green in a shopping commercial complex amidst the dense urban buildings.


Gyoza King in Dotonbori, TM insisted on buying gyoza here after the yakitori dinner. What was so memorable is listening to their specially produced Gyoza King in Dotonbori, TM insisted on buying gyoza here after the yakitori dinner. What was so memorable is listening to their specially produced “gyoza song” which we heard probably 10 times at least while waiting for our gyozas.

Me lounging around in the room of Ritz Carlton. This was just after I dug into Harbs cakes. A look of satisfaction! Me lounging around in the room of Ritz Carlton.
This was just after I dug into Harbs cakes. A look of satisfaction!


  • Hi ChuChu,
    Lovely to hear from you. I stayed at the Ritz Carlton thanks to a wonderful rate from the bank. I would suggest if you don’t mind staying in hotels, you can first check with friends that might have good corporate rates. I stayed at Ritz Carlton in the first week of February this year for around 18,000 yen which was a fab rate. If you are going with your family, it be good to stay somewhere central, like near Namba Station, where Dontonbori and Shinsaibashi are all nearby.

    I have helped to search online for some places. you can search:
    my favourite site It came up and shows a handful of apartments other than hotels. The ones that look quite good are Fraser Residence Nankai and Swissotel Nankai Osaka in terms of look and feel and their location.
    There are many local apartments on offer through sites such as Roomarama, Airbnb, but it’s more pared down and not sure if that’s something you are looking at. The 2 apartments I mentioned above are very comfortable and great for family I feel.

    Alternatively you can consider getting connecting rooms in a hotel, but sometimes I feel that staying in an apartment may work out to be cheaper. Let me know if you need more help yeah Chuchu.

    LOL, Lovey!

  • Very helpful…My colleague mentioned the Frasers too. I’ll look through the recommended sites. Thanks for ur help Lovey!


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